James Mizes

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Berkeley, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9384

Approve Date

October 17, 2016

Project Title

Mizes, James Christopher, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Marketing Dakar: The Politics of Value in Urban West Africa,' supervised by Dr. Teresa Caldeira

Preliminary abstract: Time Magazine (Perry, 2012) and The Economist (2013) have both declared Africa the new global investment frontier, dubbing the continent’s moment of fast-paced economic growth ‘Africa Rising’. Africa’s moment has also been dubbed an ‘urban revolution’, in which nearly half of the continent now lives in cities, prompting a renewed focus on interventions in the urban built environment (Parnell & Pieterse 2014). As part of these emerging moments, the City of Dakar became the first city in West Africa to receive a credit rating, and is anticipated to issue the region’s first sub-national bond without the sovereign guarantee of the nation state. Development experts tout the program as a landmark shift away from western development aid and towards regional investment. Funds from Dakar’s bond will be used to relocate informal, open-air markets from the city’s largest public infrastructure: the urban street. Funds will be used to build new commercial centers to house the city’s thousands of relocated street vendors. Vendors are required to purchase stalls in the new buildings, which will be the key source of revenue for repaying the bond. My dissertation research will explore how and with what effects the municipality, urban street markets, and regional securities markets are coming into contact and contestation in Dakar. I explore this moment through a question central to African development today: How are local governments raising the revenues required to transform Africa’s rapidly urbanizing built environments? Central to this question are the ways in which Dakar’s municipal government is gaining the credibility, authority, and expertise to access the monetary wealth required to intervene in the urban environment, and subsequent contestations over the public value of the urban street.